Sundar talks about his attraction to men in this story.
I came out to my mom “officially” about 2 weeks back. I used the term “officially” since I know that my mom has had strong suspicions about my orientation due to a variety of reasons. We never really talked about it, but I could sense that she knows something.
I had always wanted to come out to my mom, in person (as opposed to other alternatives such as email, telephone, chat, letter etc.,). Since I havent been to India in 3 years and do not plan to visit for another year, the coming out seemed to be getting delayed forever (my mom wouldnt take a vacation to visit me, not wanting to disrupt her teaching schedule. she is a teacher). I was getting increasingly frustrated by the whole situation. On one hand, I was becoming increasingly “out” (which as KMR points out seems to be a long drawn-out and continual process). On the other hand, it was killing me that the person closest to my heart (other than Velu that is :)), did not know about a significant facet of my personality.
While I was struggling to make a decision.. should I come out to her remotely (not desirable for a variety of reasons) or should I wait till the next visit (too far in the future and frustrating), the spate of coming out mails in movenpick helped me. I was very inspired by all your mails (Shri and Praveen! your mails served as the proverbial straw) about coming out and decided to come-out remotely and face the consequences, though I could not decide on the details and the tactics I wanted to deploy.
The following weekend, I was visiting Velu in “T”. During my usual weekend call to mom, we were discussing about a recent Tamil movie that I had watched the previous week (It is “autograph” btw. I know, I am a little slow in keeping up with kollywood). I casually mentioned that I had a good time “sight-adichufying” someone in the movie.
So my mom goes “so you liked that mallu girl?”. I say no.
She goes on “was it sneha then?”.
Now, I am a little irritated that she would think I like girls and blurt out
“So, you think that I should see only the girls in the movie, huh?”.
Silence for a while on the other end..then she asks in a hesitant and unsure voice
“Sundar, are you talking about ‘pasanga’?”.
Phew.. I am relieved and say “yes mom. I like guys and not girls”
Now, she goes for the customary “are you sure?”
and I tell “you remember Y and S from 10th std. I was best friends with them because I fell in love with them. I did not know it
consciously then. While in 10th std, I never could explain why I got those butterflies in my tummy whenever I was around Y and S. Now, I can recognise those feelings to be love”
nervous laughter at the other end…
I continue “You know me ma… I will not claim to be anything if I am not sure about it”
[Ofcourse, most of the conversation was in Tamil. And yes, I am a closet fan of cheran (both for his direction and his looks.. oops :))]
Then, I launched into a monologue where I explained my various experiences and the process of my coming out.. the pain, the fear of rejection, the nights of silent crying of unrequited love, my past relationships, my current relationship, section 377, hiv…
everything. (Looking back, I think it was a mistake telling her everything in a single sitting.) She responded by saying
“Most of what you said is very new to me. I will love you no matter what.. But, I somehow get the feeling that I have not been a good mom to you because i was not accessible to you when you were going through your struggle”. I was so touched by her response.
Ever since, my brother has been helping her cope with my coming out by talking to her almost on a daily basis. Her main concerns have been
(a) the guilt she feels about “not being there for my son when he
needed me the most”
(b) section 377 and its implications (“don’t come back to india. you will be better off in the US”)
(c) how to break this news to my dad. The usual “what will happen to my son when he
grows old and I am not there to take care of him” seems to be low in the priority list right now because
(1) she knows that I have a really strong circle of friends who have accepted me unconditionally and love me to death
(2) she grudgingly accepts velu as my well-wisher :).
Now that I am out to my mom, I don’t feel elated, but just a sense of relief and peace. Finally, yesssss…
Now that I feel very emotional writing this email and all, I also feel like I should take this opportunity to thank the folks who have been with me (knowingly or not, directly or indirectly) from the time I started searching the internet circa 1998 for the word “homosexual” (the first instance of me accepting the fact that I might be one).
In no particular order…
(1) Vikram, L_Ramki, Ashok (and countless others in gaybombay and kush). Most of my current thoughts/opinions regarding
homosexuality/bixsexuality were shaped reading your emails. Most of my queer related knowledge was gleamed from sources you linked to. I really don’t know where I would be if it were not for you (perhaps married and leading a dual, miserable life).
(2) Vetri. Vetri was with me at Purdue for approximately 2.5 years. When I met him, I had come out to just a couple of my friends. We pushed each other through our respective coming out processes. He gave me the courage to place my profile on gay.com, attach a picture (yeah, it seemed a really BIG thing then). He also showed me that it is possible to get a nice person to live with..
(3) My straight friends and my brother (who are not on the list)..They were my support group long before I had enough gay friends.
Thanks for listening patiently to my excited and boring reports about my crush-of-the-month, the latest gay movie and the last episode of QAF.. Also thanks for taking up the cause of queer people and fighting for it, despite the fact that your own sexuality is often questioned as a result.
(4) Movenpick. What can I say? Though I do not maintain an active off-list communication channel with most of you folks, you are my extended family. Thanks.
And Velu, for letting me share my life with you :).
This post is also available in: தமிழ் (Tamil)